Read 1 Kings 14, Joel 3, and 1 Peter 2 today. This devotional is about 1 Kings 14.
Isn’t it surprising how utilitarian Jeroboam was about matters of faith and worship?
When he was being anointed king, he was willing to to believe the Lord (11:26-39, 12:2-3, 12-15). But after the Lord’s word was completely fulfilled and he was made king, he made two golden calves and said, “‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’ One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan” (12:28b-29).
Now that his son—his heir—was sick here in chapter 14, Jeroboam wanted to know the Lord’s will again. When he wanted to know if his son would be Okay, Jeroboam sent his wife to the very prophet who anointed him, whose word was fulfilled completely (vv. 2-5). Comically, he even told his wife to disguise herself (v. 2b), as if the Lord would not reveal who she was but would reveal what would happen to his son.
Jeroboam was all about knowing God’s will when it had to do with his life and prosperity. When the Lord’s word was against him, however, he wanted to seize the Lord’s prophet (13:4), presumably to harm him. God’s word, his truth, was important in key moments of his life; the rest of the time, however, his golden calves were more than good enough.
The true God was like a spare tire to this ancient king of Israel. You never think about your spare tire until one of your regular tires goes flat. Then you hope the spare tire has enough air in it to bail you out of being stuck and stranded. That was how Jeroboam treated the God of his people Israel.
I take it back; maybe it isn’t surprising that Jeroboam was a utilitarian worshipper. We all tend to treat God this way ourselves.
When our future is at stake, we want to know what God’s word says.
When everything is good for us, we are tempted to give God as much consideration as we give our spare tires in normal driving conditions.
Do your prayer habits shrivel and dry up until the next crisis hits? Do you neglect God’s word until you are afraid, then you crave knowing what God’s will is? Because we are fallen, the spare tire theology that Jeroboam had is easy for us to slouch into. May God give us a heart like David who, though sinful himself, longed to know and love God.